Bush strained to support this position by seeking out moderate Muslims across America. One of the first groups he approached was the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Bush met with CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad soon after Sept. 11. That began a federal precedent of kowtowing to CAIR. In December 2004, FBI counter-terrorism agents in Florida were forced to attend sensitivity training by CAIR. In January 2005, CAIR met with top State Department officials to discuss American foreign policy; Awad proposed a cooperative effort to challenge Islamophobia. In January 2007, the Transportation Security Administration initiated CAIRs Hajj Sensitivity Training, featuring it on their website.There was only one problem: CAIR is an organization with deep ties to terrorists in the Middle East. According to Andrew McCarthy of National Review, CAIR was created by a wing of Hamas, the Islamic Association for Palestine. Awad was president of the Islamic Association For Palestine . Much of CAIRs early money came from the Holy Land Foundation -- the same foundation that had its funds frozen in the aftermath of Sept. 11, and the same foundation whose founder, Ghassan Elashi, headed up the CAIR chapter in Texas.
While CAIR was posing as a defender of moderate Islam, it was simultaneously silencing critics with lawsuits. Anti-CAIR, an organization dedicated to exposing the truth about CAIRs radicalism, found itself hauled into court for defamation. The suit was dismissed in favor of Anti-CAIR. Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the southern California office of CAIR, sued National Review after writer Shawn Steel criticized CAIR. CAIR sued former U.S. Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C., after he called CAIR the fund-raising arm for Hezbollah. CAIR attempted to sue columnist David Frum for similar charges.
Not only is CAIR an extreme group with Islamist sympathies and dissent-crushing tendencies, it is allegedly involved in criminal fraud and racketeering. David Yerushalmi, a securities litigator currently enmeshed in a case against CAIR, told me that CAIR was using its status as a public interest law firm to hire non-lawyers for other purposes.
Finally, in the last days of the George W. Bush administration, the FBI recognized CAIRs extremism. According to Fox News, the FBI recently cut ties with local branches of CAIR in the aftermath of a 15-year FBI investigation suggesting CAIRs connections with Hamas fundraising.